Butler (AP: 11 Coaches: 11)
The Dawgs are up to 11th in the country and 17-3 overall by virtue of a very fortunate 2-0 week. Butler was challenged at home by a hot Marquette team and then erased a massive 20 point deficit against DePaul in Rosemont to steal the game 70-69 in OT. Kamar Baldwin continues to breakout and Kelan Martin continues to be a consistent force on the offensive end. Butler heads to Newark to take on a desperate Seton Hall team that is undefeated at home and then closes the week with a home game against a reeling Georgetown.
Creighton (AP: 16 Coaches: 16)
As you may have heard, star guard, Maurice Watson Jr was lost for the season last Monday with a torn ACL. Creighton was able to hold on in that game against Xavier and pick up the win. Later that week, the Jays were knocked off at home by the aforementioned Marquette Golden Eagles, who broke the century mark in that game. Creighton is in trouble. Their first full game without Watson and they give up over 100 points. They are not a great defensive team and lose a lot of their grit without Watson on the floor. Greg McDermott needs to cook up some more magic if they want to stay in the Big East title race. Creighton has as easy a week you will get in the Big East playing Georgetown in DC and DePaul at home.
Dayton (AP: RV)
Crucial 2-0 week for the Flyers as they knocked off previously unbeaten, in conference, Richmond to take sole possession of first place in the A-10. They also beat up on a bad Saint Louis team. Dayton is a top 10 adjusted defense team according to Ken Pom and it is showing. They have not allowed more than 60 points since their head-scratching loss at UMass. Dayton has the full week to prep for one of their biggest games of the season, VCU on the road.
The Illini are struggling as they have dropped 3 straight and 4 of their last 5. They now sit just above Rutgers at the bottom of the Big Ten’s standings. During this rough patch, Illinois has really struggled to consistent score. A very winnable week coming up as they host Iowa and then head to Penn State.
Illinois State (AP: RV)
The red-hot Redbirds from Illinois State cracked into the AP voting as they received a 25th place vote from John Feinstein. The Birds knocked off rival Bradley on the road in a blowout and Drake at home on Saturday. ISU is getting it done on the defensive end in a big way. They are ranked 9th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to Ken Pom. If they can keep it up on the defensive end, this is a team poised to make a run to March for the first time since 1998. The Birds get a tough Indiana State team at home on Wednesday and then head to Evansville on Sunday afternoon.
Indiana (Coaches: RV)
By the will of James Blackmon Jr and his game-winning shot against Penn State, Indiana pulled off a 2-0 week. Their other game was a win over Michigan State, who I still cannot get a read on. Despite the 2-0 week, the Hoosiers lost star OG Anunoby for the season with a knee injury. A devastating blow to a team that looked to be getting back on track. Indiana will have to find its way without their shutdown defender as they get Michigan and Northwestern on the road this week. A win over Northwestern would do wonders — never thought I’d write that sentence, but the Cats are for real this year.
The Hawkeyes battled back from a double-digit deficit to tie up the game late against Maryland but ultimately fell at home to the Terps. Jok had an off shooting night and that was that. This game was their chance to right the ship and position themselves to make a February run, but that will be put on hold. Now they have two easier games against a struggling Illinois team on the road and at home against an on-and-off Ohio State squad.
If you can split your games in a road trip to Creighton and Butler you will take that any day of the week, and that is exactly what Marquette did. The Golden Eagles have won 3 of their last 4 after a 1-2 Big East start. Marquette is winning these games on the offensive end, despite being decimated by injuries and transfers, MU is rated 7th in the country in adjusted offense per Ken Pom. It showed in their 102-94 win over Creighton. Another big week as they host #1 Villanova on Tuesday and get Providence at home on Saturday.
Notre Dame (AP: 14 Coaches: 12)
Despite a road loss in a very good game, Notre Dame remains tied for 1st in the ACC after beating a down Cuse team in South Bend. The Irish are lethal shooting the ball this season, (it feels like every season) they are 9th in adjust offensive efficiency and play pretty good defense too. This is a team that can hurt you in a multitude of ways so long as they stay healthy, expect a deep run in March. Notre Dame will play host to Virginia on Tuesday in a big ACC match-up. They finish up the week with a road trip to Georgia Tech.
The Hall put themselves in a can’t lose situation going into Sunday’s game against St. John’s after an 0-3 road trip, which was capped off on Monday by a 30 point bloodbath against Villanova. SHU responded nicely with a double-digit win that was in hand by half, thanks in large part to Angel Delgado’s monster 21 point 20 rebound game. Delgado is the best rounder in the country. No question in my mind. SHU has a golden opportunity to boost its resume on Wednesday as Butler comes to town, it is their only game of the week.
St. John’s (MN)
A busy week for the Johnnies ended with a road loss at Carleton College ending a 5 game win streak. It was still a successful week as St. Jonh’s went 2-1 and improved to 12-4 (8-3) on the season. It is a quiet week for the Johnnies as they St. Thomas before hitting the road for four games.
Washington University (St. Louis)
The Bears have climbed into the top 10 and check in this week at #8 according to D3hoops dot com. Wash U went 2-0 last week with wins over New York University and Brandeis at home. They are now 13-3 (5-0) on the season and look primed for a conference title and tournament berth. The Bears will hit the road this week and take on Carnegie Mellon and Case Western as they tour the “Grit Belt”.